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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7620
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I believe my partner has been maliciously slandered at work.

Resolved Question:

I believe my partner has been maliciously slandered at work. Another person at work (Miss S) has reported him to management for saying that she (Miss S) and another colleaue (Mr G) are having an affair. My partner insists that he never said any such thing and that as a result of previous mischief by Miss S he doesn't even speak to Miss S so he wouldn't have said anything to her, let alone alledging an affair. Such an affair wouldn't even have occured to him and knowing Mr G he doesn't believe that he would be having an affair anyway. He has since had lunch with Mr G and although the issue was never raised, Mr G's conversation was perfectly normal and it was obvious that he knew nothing about my partner referring to an alledged "affair". Also, in consequence of previous "mischief" my partner believes that Miss S is trying to stir trouble on the grounds of homophobia. My partner has been "warned" by his managers. Advice please!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for your question.
In order to be defamatory (ie. Libel or slander), it must:-
1. Be a false statement
2. Communicated publicly (ie. To another person other than the defamor and the defamed
3. Cause damage to the person who is defamed.

So, assuming that your partner is telling the truth then the statement is false. Meeting 1 above.
It appears to have been communicated to managers, therefore meeting 2.
3 is more difficult because you can only claim for direct financial loss and I cannot see an immediately obvious head of loss flowing from the statement. He has been warned by his managers but presumably this has not cause him to suffer monetary loss and therefore it’s difficult to pin down.
You must also privately fund any defamation action because there is no legal aid to it. It’s not normally an action taken by a person of normal means (it costs tens of thousands of pounds.. More common is the sending of a Letter Before Action from a solicitor asking for the person to cease the statements with possibly a retraction if appropriate.
As this is an employment scenario he should consider raising a grievance if he feels that his managers have not dealt with the situation appropriately so that his record will show that he disputes the position and exercise his employment right in this regard:-
I appreciate that the defamation laws in the UK are frustrating because there are significant financial barriers of entry.
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Kind regards,

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